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Lorenzo grabs dramatic Phillip Island pole

Lorenzo grabs dramatic Phillip Island pole

Jorge Lorenzo has clinched pole position for the Tissot Australian Grand Prix, beating Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi to the top spot in a highly dramatic shootout at Phillip Island.

With only three rounds remaining in the 2013 MotoGP™ season and Marquez able to clinch an historic premier class title win this weekend, the qualifying session at Phillip Island would prove to be one of the most incident-packed of the year.

Ultimately, Lorenzo clinched his third pole of the campaign – his first since Jerez in May – courtesy of a best lap of 1’27.899, but this was only after the reigning World Champion’s Yamaha Factory Racing bike clipped a seagull. The margin at the front would be two tenths of a second, with Marquez able to secure the world crown on Sunday if he ends the race with a points advantage of 51 or more. The 20-year-old newcomer has now also amassed a points margin large enough to become unassailable in the BMW M Award, successfully winning the prize on his first attempt.

In third place, Rossi – who on only three occasions in his career has failed to finish on the podium at Phillip Island – will start on the front row for the second consecutive race, ahead of GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista who qualified fourth but went off-track at the end of qualifying. Fifth will be Sepang winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) - who is the only rider other than Marquez and Lorenzo who retains a mathematical possibility of winning the championship - from Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow, who will start sixth. Row 3 will be occupied by Tech3’s Bradley Smith plus Ducati Team pairing Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso.

Tenth on the grid will be Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, who entered the Q2 shootout from Q1, as was also the case with Dovizioso. It was towards the end of Q1 when Iannone was involved in an on-track disagreement with Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, who failed to feature in Q2 for only the fourth time this in 2013. In the meantime, Colin Edwards set the CRT pace as he qualified 11th for NGM Mobile Forward Racing, one position in front of Randy de Puniet while the Frenchman’s teammate Espargaro will be 13th on the grid; both de Puniet and Edwards suffered incidents in the Q2 shootout.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl has taken no further part in the weekend since attempting to ride in opening practice, having fractured his right ankle at Sepang one week ago; the German hopes to return at Motegi next weekend. Australian Bryan Staring will start his home race 21st on the Gresini CRT bike, with fellow countryman Damian Cudlin having qualified 23rd for PBM on his 31st birthday.

Sunday’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix begins at 4pm local time (GMT +11).


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